What To Expect During Therapy

Mental Health 101


1 July 2020

Woman talking to therapist

What to expect in your first visit? At your first visit, the mental health professional may practise the following:

  • Invite you to discuss the informed consent by offering you with information regarding counselling practice, and obtaining consent from you to enter into a therapeutic relationship. And give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.
  • Talk with you about why you think you need to come to therapy. 
  • May ask you about what your symptoms are, how long you have experienced them and what, if anything, you have done about them in the past. 
  • May ask you about your family and your work/study. 
  • May discuss with you about what goal/s you wish to achieve and describe the plan to achieve the goal/s.

It will likely take several weeks before you become fully comfortable with the therapy. The two of you need to work together as a team in order to get the most out of your treatment. If you still aren’t feeling comfortable after two or three visits, let the mental health professional know and explain why you feel that way. A mental health professional may consider referring a client to another practitioner when:

  • The difficulty experienced by the client is outside of the practitioner’s knowledge
  • The type of therapy a practitioner offers may not be suitable for an individual
  • A practitioner is concerned about the client’s safety and refer the client to an agency setting which has better safety arrangements such as a hospital/psychiatric ward
  • A practitioner feels s/he is unable to work with the client due to going through some own personal issues
How do I make the best out of treatment?
  • Be honest with yourself and your therapist
  • Follow through with homework, recommendations and suggestions between sessions
  • Be specific and as much as possible, use your own real experiences (rather than speaking about things in conceptual, general, or hypothetical terms)
  • You may have to temporarily take a break from being “right” about yourself and the world. Be open to seeing things from a different perspective.
  • Share what is working for you and what isn’t working in your therapist’s approach
  • Be okay with asking for support from people around you